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By Mark Bell | April 29, 2005

Finally 8 am rolled around and the lights, which had been dimmed, came on full blast and we all rose to our feet. The room started to empty, and Stormtroopers and other volunteers led us into the ballroom. Volunteers in red shirts kept repeating that no video cameras were allowed, still photos could be taken with a flash for the first 3 minutes, but after that you were allowed to take stills, just with the flash off. Entering the room I saw how huge it was, and also saw that they were seating us by the line. This meant that, as predicted, I was not able to get to the front (not even to the side of the front, where I still saw seats) but was instead placed in the back. Whereas I should’ve felt a sense of accomplishment for surviving, I felt nothing at all. I wasn’t even sure why I was there anymore.

Our host for the show, Jay Laga’aia (the one-eyed Captain Typho in Episodes II and III) took the stage and tried to pump the crowd up. He introduced Rick McCallum, and we all cheered. Rick then introduced two other actors from the film, Lucas’s children Jett and Katie. It was the Lucas brood who were supposed to introduce their father, and they did. The room rose to its feet, people were screaming in glee and… Lucas wasn’t on stage. We were then informed that there was a kind of “Lucas home movie” we were to watch first, and the screens overhead were filled with a short montage clip of George Lucas as happy-go-lucky director guy. The video ended, and Lucas walked out on stage.

It was strange. He was pretty far away, so he looked very tiny and awkward, putting both arms in the air posing for everyone. My mind started wondering if this was the guy I had really gone through the previous adventure to see. Why I wasn’t cheering as loudly as everyone else? Why I hadn’t even clapped? What had I expected? My mind wasn’t offering any answers, so I just sat down when the crowd did and listened to the Q&A.

George talked about how he had originally thought of only making “Episode IV”, that he wanted it to be a part of a twelve part series but that folks could only see the fourth part. He talked about how he saw the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy less like six movies and more like one movie, and that when we finally saw “Episode III” that we’d see all the parallels and pay-offs. There was mention of two television shows, a 3D animated series and a live action series. The live action series would be filmed similar to the “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” in that they would write one full season before filming it, and that it would follow the adventures of certain side characters of the film, though he left who that would be to our imaginations. A kid with some form of disability asked Lucas a question that was actually just a “thanks.” The kid was brought up on stage and posed for the cameras with Lucas and I felt even weirder. For the first show, the questions were too good, too on point, letting us know a bit of what we were curious about but not telling us much. And a random photo opportunity? It dawned on me that I was indeed watching a show.

The most interesting part of the Q&A was when Jay asked about the working relationship between George and Rick, and George started characterizing it as a relationship that has gone on for a long time, possibly on the verge of divorce. They both do their own thing, oblivious to the other and you don’t really know that they’re still together until they do an event like this one and show up smiling and joking with each other. I wondered if this was a crossroads for them, and George alluded to that by his comments about being unsure how they would work together in the future. Pretty heady, why did Jay even ask that question?

Then it was wrapping up. Jay thanked Lucas for letting him interview him, and this is where Lucas made the most revealing turn of the morning. Making some joke about being a clone himself, Lucas stated it was an honor to be getting interviewed by a fellow clone. This is revealing for one reason: Lucas was confusing Jay’s character with clone originator Jango Fett, who was not played by Jay, but Temuera Morrison. In other words, George had no idea who he was talking to, or if he did, he wasn’t sure who that person played in his movie. He couldn’t be bothered to remember one of the actors in his own movie. Jay took it in stride, though, winking at the audience with his comment “maybe in the next film I’ll get an eye,” letting us know that he knew that we knew what had just happened, and just to roll with it, as he had. But come on. I know Captain Typho isn’t the most important character out there, but I would think you would be able to tell the difference between Jay Laga’aia and Temuera Morrison.

And then it was over, and we were herded out of the room so the next group could come in. All of that, for 20 minutes of information that was less than illuminating, save for the possibility of something deeper going on with Lucas and McCallum and a telling comment that shows that George cares a lot more for the tech side then for his actors. I was just punch-drunk. I knew I should’ve loved the experience seeing Lucas like everyone else seemed to, I knew I should’ve been happy but I was too tainted by the entire adventure that I couldn’t find that silver lining. I had lined up to see a personal hero of mine and… It wasn’t worth it. It was innocence lost.

The adventure continues in LINE-A-PALOOZA: EPILOGUE – EPISODES VII, VIII, and IX?>>>

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